Favorites

I love books. Most of my favorite books come from my favorite authors. This is silly since none of my favorites are one hit wonders – you know, the guy who wrote a great book then wrote nothing but crap thereafter. Another silliness can be assumed: I love everything written by my favorite authors. This is partially true, in the sense of everything I have read is very, very good but I just like some better than others. Here’s a list of my favorite books, separated by author, and some reasons why I like each.

Glen Cook
The Black Company is my #1 favorite. The whole thing is awesome. The characters, the POV, the grit of this fantasy world. You can almost taste the grit it’s so… so gritty. This book started the series of the same name. Every book in the series is great but this is the best. A friend of mine said this was like “X-men meets D&D” but it’s so much more (and no mutants.) Military fantasy at its best. I like it so much, I have two paperbacks to lend out at any given time and I recently downloaded a copy for my Nook.

A Matter of Time is my favorite time travel book. This is one of Glen’s few science fiction books. The intertwining of father and son, past and present, mystery and science are all really cool. It’s got Glen’s older, slimmer style of writing. I’m a sucker for time travel, even the new romance time travel that seems to pervade the market now.

He has other good books, like The Swordbearer and The Tower of Fear, as well as series, like the Dread Empire, the Garrett Files (fantasy private eye) and, another favorite of mine, the Darkwar trilogy. Did I mention he’s from Missouri?

Stephen King
I like just about anything he’s written but I haven’t read everything yet. Three of my favorite books come from King.

The Stand was the first big book I challenged. This one had a bunch of ideas, big and little. Post-apocalyptic stories weren’t as popular yet and this was the second or third I’d read. The idea of a few survivors left in America was scary and enthralling at the same time.

The Gunslinger was a book I eyed when I went to pick out other King books. It took me quite a while to come around to it. I was never a fan of westerns and couldn’t wrap my mind around reading a horror-western. I’m glad I took the chance because it was so much better.

The Eyes of the Dragon is another surprise. King was this big time horror writer but this was fantasy. My relationship with Fantasy is odd (and the subject of another post.) This was really good. Intrigue, magic, I really need to re-read this one. Thankfully, I have a copy around here somewhere.

Jim Butcher
Dead Beat is my favorite here. Storm Front was the first Dresden Files book. I was three or four books in when I’d read something about the series really hitting it after the first three. Or maybe it was Jim’s telling of how he got published. Anyway, I made it to book five, Dead Beat, and Damn! This one cemented Jim as one of my all-time favorite authors. I don’t like this book for all of the same reasons as everyone else. Sue was pretty frickin’ awesome. It was so much more. I really dig the necromancy. The language really hits it through Harry’s POV. Another one I need to re-read, though I’m going to do a series re-read before Skin Game releases.

I’ve read every book Jim has published and most of his short stories. Another great writer from Missouri. I pimp Jim out to anyone asking me for something good to read.

Patrick Rothfuss
The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear are just Wow! The depth of the details are so, um, deep. Pat really rocks the language, world building, characters, tension, pacing, and everything else. These are my top two fantasy reads (and the third will be when I read it.) Pat is another author I try dealing out, but a little more cautiously as the books are big, by idea and not just by word count.

Douglas Adams
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a classic and is still one of my favorites, even though the movie wasn’t my favorite. I enjoyed the trilogy’s five books and the extra sequel written by Eoin Colfer. I recently re-read the series before reading And Another Thing and the reading was just as good as the first time.

Frank Herbert
Dune is another classic science fiction book/series and probably my #1 favorite sci-fi book. This was the first book I’d read with such rawness (the book not my reading.) Until this point, I was a Star Wars fan and I stuck to the safer tales where everything was black and white. Paul was more complex than anyone I’d read about previous and he was very confident.

Clive Barker
Imajica was the second mega-book I tried to read. I restarted this one three or four times. I had read much of Clive’s work up until then – Weaveworld, The Great and Secret Show, and the short stories. I never got into Hellraiser, books or movies. Imajica did it for me. It was so complex compared to much of what I had read. The ending was the first time I had seen such a twist. No spoilers but it was a real Wow! moment.

Joe Haldeman
The Forever War is yet another classic sci-fi story, this one about fighting aliens in space. More to the story is the changes the characters have to endure. When I read it, I’d seen something about physics and this book. The science in this book is wonderful and the story is a classic as well as still ahead of our time in terms of technology. Two sequels came after with Forever Free being the better of the two. Forever Peace was a bit of a cross between the first book and Neuromancer.

John Steakley
Armor is also a science fiction war in space against aliens. The aliens in this one are bugs much like ants and the characters fight to survive and eliminate the enemy. The character twist toward the end was shocking to me at the time – I thought I should have picked up clues and figured it out first. Anyway, I’m a sucker for space war. The Forever War, Armor, and Starship Troopers are three of the best in my opinion.

Neil Gaiman
American Gods is my favorite Gaiman work. I have never read Sandman. I started with Neverwhere but at the time I was expecting more like Clive Barker’s work. It wasn’t. But it was AG that brought me to Gaiman fandom. I’m glad I tried it. Shadow is one of my favorite characters in literature.

William Gibson
Neuromancer is the book that brought cyber-everything to science fiction. The language, the ideas, the technology were all so cool (still are.) I wonder if Gibson had never published this book, would The Matrix exist?

George RR Martin
A Game of Thrones, like its television namesake, is one of the best fantasy books I’ve read. This was another book I skirted around, seeing it on the bookshelf at work, thinking it was bigger than most books and probably a task to read. I bought this one in 2008 but didn’t read until 2010; I buy more books than I can read – though I’m catching up. This was an experience. At first I had trouble keeping up with all of the characters. I’m fairly certain this was one I had to restart. I’m glad I did because it is so good. I’m reading the books with the season; I’ll start book 3 sometime in the next month. Secret: I read all of the book and then the prologue of the next one. The season finale has twice ended with events from the next prologue. I’m not much for spoilers and I prefer to read a book before seeing the movie/show.

So here’s my top ten (sixteen) list of books – in no particular order:

    Black Company
    The Stand
    The Name of the Wind
    Dead Beat
    The Wise Man’s Fear
    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
    The Gunslinger
    The Forever War
    American Gods
    Imajica
    The Eyes of the Dragon
    Armor
    Dune
    Neuromancer
    A Game of Thrones
    A Matter of Time
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